Turkish ministry strives to ease life of elderly

By Merve Yildizalp

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services supports the elderly through various economic and socio-cultural initiatives.

Turkey's elderly population is growing faster than other age groups in the country, according to the Turkish Statistic Institute (TUIK).

Data released by the statistic authority said the percentage of senior citizens (65-year-olds and above) reached 8.5 percent in 2017.

The figure is expected to reach 10.2 percent in 2023 and 12.9 percent in 2030, 16.3 percent in 2040, 22.6 percent in 2060 and 25.6 percent in 2080, according to TUIK data.

The ministry provides home care services for the elderly. Around 500,000 Turkish citizens benefit from this service.

Also pension is distributed to needy senior citizens. A total of 618,000 people have been supported with this pension as of the end of 2017.

The elderly who are unable to stay at home are cared for at special centers.

A total of 14,000 people are served at 144 nursing homes which operate under the ministry. This number reaches to around 2,100 when private nursing homes are included.

Since 2014, senior citizens can also access railways, sea lines, and municipality transportation vehicles free of charge or at discounted prices.

The ministry is also operating 47 old-age homes.

Oct. 1 is marked as the International Day of Older Persons. This year's theme is "celebrating older human rights champions".

According to the UN, there are some 700 million people in the world over the age of 60.

“By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 percent of the world’s population, will be 60 or older,” the UN said.

“The increase in the number of older people will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest proportionate growth,” it added.

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